Deloitte has reached agreements with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to buy sustainable aviation fuel that offsets the environmental impact of its business travel.
As part of Deloitte's agreement with Delta, the carrier has entered into a separate supply agreement with Neste, which produces low-emission fuel for aircraft from renewable waste and residue materials. Other carriers, including American, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, already have been using fuel from Neste.
Delta will not be using the fuel on specific flights, as the fuel is designed to be dropped into existing infrastructure and mixed with conventional fuel. Delta will then report emission reductions related to the fuel to Deloitte, which they can apply to their own flights, according to a Delta spokesperson.
The amount of fuel in the agreement equates to a reduction of about 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the amount sequestered by 1,306 acres of forest, according to Delta.
"This collaboration with Deloitte is one example of how companies can work together to meet goals we are equally passionate about," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. "Sustainability is core to who we are, and it is important to our corporate customers for whom air travel is a significant part of their carbon footprint."
Similarly, with American Airlines, Deloitte will be able to report a reduction of Scope 3 emissions—indirect emissions, which includes business travel—associated with the amount of sustainable fuel used, according to an American spokesperson. Their agreement cuts life cycle emissions by 3,050 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of about 10,000 passengers flying one-way from New York to Los Angeles, according to the carrier.
As availability and price remain an obstacle for sustainable fuel to significantly cut total airline emissions, Deloitte and American also are working with entities including the World Economic Forum to develop a certificate related to investment in sustainable aviation fuel. Such a certificate is not yet available, but agreements like the one between American and Deloitte can help demonstrate the market for them exists and set an example for other corporate travel programs looking to decrease emissions, according to an American Airlines spokesperson.
"We recognize the important role the business community plays in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy," Deloitte U.S. CEO Joe Ucuzoglu said in a statement. "It's a monumental task no organization can solve alone, which is why we're looking forward to working with American Airlines on a new concept to accelerate adoption of a fuel source that can dramatically reduce emissions from aviation."
Both carriers said the agreement with Deloitte is among the first in which an airline and corporation are collaborating directly to cut emissions via sustainable fuel. In October, Microsoft reported an agreement with Alaska Airlines in which it buys sustainable fuel credits to offset travel on its busiest routes with the carrier, and Microsoft in 2019 established a similar agreement with KLM.
The agreements will help Deloitte toward a goal of cutting business travel emissions per employee by 50 percent by 2030 and reaching a total net-zero emissions by that same year, according to the company. Deloitte's business air travel for the 12 months ending May 31, 2020, accounted for about 383,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, according to the company's annual sustainability report. Other business travel sources accounted for an additional 202,000 metric tons, according to the report. Deloitte ranked at the top of BTN's 2020 Corporate Travel 100 list of largest business travel accounts.